Evening Gowns & Cocktail Dresses: Paper Doll Clothes

logo-formal-gowns-msman In doing my research for this set of evening gowns I went to a few bridal websites and pinned to my Pinterest boards wedding dresses I liked and bridesmaid’s dresses that I liked.

Now Pinterest thinks I am getting married and keeps suggesting pins to be about wedding planning, budgeting and seating arrangements. There needs to be a “Nope, not interested” button on Pinterest. Since I am not getting married, I just like to look a pretty dresses.

Speaking of pretty dresses, today we have two evening gowns and two cocktail dresses. I’ve never done evening gowns for the Ms. Mannequin dolls before. I actually hadn’t realized that until I prepped and posted these.

I wanted to do a range of styles in one sheet. There are gloves, because I think gloves are always elegant- even if I never wear them. There are two cocktail length dresses and then two full length dresses. I suppose these could be for prom or something, but I always think of the Ms. Mannequin dolls as being older. Maybe a red carpet event? Or a formal wedding in the evening?

Paper doll gowns in four styles for the Ms. Mannequin series in black and white for coloring. Print from paperthinpersonas.com Paper doll gowns in four styles for the Ms. Mannequin series in color. Print from paperthinpersonas.com

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As I write all this stuff about weddings, it occurs to me I haven’t really done a wedding paper doll set. That’s odd considering there is a long history of weddings as a paper doll theme. Maybe my inability to draw men has stifled my wedding plans. Of course, it could also be that I am scared of drawing lace. Lace is a wedding dress sorta thing. I mean Greta has a wedding dress in her Steampunk Trousseau, but none of the other paper dolls have wedding gowns.

Plus, I was never one of those kids who “dreamed” of my wedding day. I do remember playing with a golden book Bride and Groom paper doll. Mostly, what I recall is thinking the Maid of Honor was prettier than the bride. I think she usually ended up running off with the Groom. 🙂

So, weddings. Worth doing? Best ignoring? What do y’all think?

Last, but not least, I’d like to give huge thank you to everyone who is supporting me on Patreon. If you’d like to join the Vivian Project, here’s the Patreon page and here’s some info about the Vivian Project.

And if Patreon isn’t your thing, no worries. I’ll also be doing a Princess Club next year, starting January 2016, where you can subscribe and receive a princess paper doll. So, that’s another way to support PTP.

Or just tell a friend about PTP. That’s also a great way to support the blog (and it’s free).

Frocks and Gowns in Color

logo-frocks-gowns-colorSo, this is going up a little late today. Sorry about that, but life got crazy this weekend. I want to talk a little bit today about coloring last week’s paper doll and a little about diversity in the paper doll world.

So, when I color a paper doll set, I start with a pallette. I knew I was going to be giving Monica a fairly rich brown skin tone, so that opened up and closed down certain color options. For example, I tend to avoid putting brown colored clothing on brown colored paper dolls, unless the tones are really different, since it can blend too easily. Since she was going to have a rich skin-tone, I decided that bright and color dresses made a lot of sense.

The strapless gown with the belt was based on this gown by Andrew GN and since it had a red top and a pink bottom, that informed the blues and the greens as contrasting colors in the other gowns.

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I’m a big believer in paper doll diversity. I think it is really important to have a variety of concepts and skin-tones and, ideally, a variety of concepts in a variety of skin-tones. Truthfully, I tend not to think of my paper dolls in terms of ethnicity, but in terms of color. It it less about, “this paper doll is African-American” and more about “this paper doll is a dark brown with red undertones.”

I used to think I was the only one who thought this way about paper doll skin-tones until I read this post from Julie over at Paper Doll School. I was comforted to find out that we both tend to think in terms of “color” not in terms of ethnicity.

The result of coloring things, perhaps?

What I do know is that no matter how I think about skin-tone, it is crucial to me that I offer readers of all backgrounds and colors paper dolls that reflect them. People should be able to see themselves in the toys they play with.

Yes, I know a lot of my readers are adults, but adults play with toys, too. At least, they should. 🙂 I do.

Frocks and Gowns in Black and White: A Paper Doll

logo-frocks-gowns-bwThis is the first Monica paper doll of 2015! I think she looks stunning with this collection of fancy dresses, both cocktail and more formal. I wanted to try the spiky hairstyle that I used for my post-apocolyptic paper doll again.

I find with paper dolls that I tend to do a formal gown set every year or so. In 2014, I did this set of vintage evening gowns and a set for Mia in 2012.

As a kid, I liked drawing evening gowns and I like to think my paper dolls lead the sort of high style lives where they would need fancy dresses. Plus, we are coming into Prom season, so it seems fitting to draw some prom worthy dresses.

Though, I must say, the older I get the less I find prom dresses to be anything other than gaudy. There are a few exceptions, but they are rare. I did a prom paper doll set back in 2010 based on the dresses I saw for sale in that year.

Monica’s evening and cocktail dresses are all based on real gowns except for the one on the far right with the flower. I totally made that up.

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Interesting PTP fact: The first paper doll set ever in the Marisole Monday series was Glamor Girl with formal gowns. That was way back in 2010.

My few of my other formal gown paper doll sets have been At the Big Gala, Red Carpet Elegance, and Flowers and Jewels.

As always, enjoy the paper doll and feel free to tell me what you think about her.

Amaryllis, a Paper Doll in Evening Gowns

logo-amaryllis-paper-dollI don’t really do balance that well. I tend to work in the grip of obsession and then realize I’ve just spent five hours looking through images of medieval manuscripts in the hope that one of them might show a 10th century women’s neckline which, of course, none of them did. (By the way, you can read all about my adventures in the 10th century here and see the paper doll result.)

So, when I want to draw and I don’t want to get wrapped up in fretting about whether or not my choice of red is the right shade for Turkey red of the 1800s, I often turn to contemporary fashion magazines, as I know I have mentioned before. I find these paper dolls are fun, because in many ways they are easier than fantasy or historical dolls. I can just draw what I see, which is simpler for me than trying to draw from my minds-eye or from actual historical garments.

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Amaryllis’ evening gowns are based on actual evening gowns of the “real world”. I wanted to use a spring color scheme that wouldn’t be to heavy and dark. I feel like Clarissa, my last Pixie, had an awfully dark color scheme for a summer paper doll post. I wanted to make Amaryllis’ shoes neutral enough that she could wear them with other outfits in case she wanted to borrow some evening gowns from another paper doll or felt like rocking some jeans. 🙂

One last thing, the latest drawing is still open. Consider entering if you like. 🙂

Some Sets in Black and White…

So… I often get asked for more black and white versions to color of Marisole Monday paper dolls. Oddly, I have almost never been asked for black and white versions of other paper dolls, but that’s neither here nor there.

ancient-chic-black-white

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This was specifically requested a while ago, so I wanted to make sure to do Ancient Chic and one of the sets.


big-gala-black-white

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I forgot that I hadn’t done this in black and white. I would have sworn I had… but as it turned out, I was wrong. It’s odd to me to think this paper doll set in color was posted nearly two years ago. Wow… That was a while ago. I’m still not pleased with how the floral skirt turned out, but sometimes you just can’t win.


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Walk in the Woods in color was a set which I wanted to do some more casual wear and as I recall someone had asked for East Indian coloring, so that was my attempt at that. In hind sight, I rather like the accessories with this set like the apple, water bottle and backpack.

So, here they are. A few sets in black and white to be colored. Enjoy them everyone.

Marisole Vintage Evening Gowns In Colors…

marisole-vintage-logo-colorLast week, I posted this paper doll set in black and white for coloring. I promised I would talk a little about each of the gowns and where they came from.

I need to learn to streamline my method for dealing with elaborate florals, or I need to never do one ever again. Normally coloring a paper doll set takes about 2 to 4 hours, at most. Sometimes longer, but only if I take a lot of breaks and am doing a lot of other stuff. If I have my colors picked out and I’m on a roll, I can do the set in about an hour when I’m really on the ball, though formatting, saving and other detail work takes longer. That single floral dress took me nearly an hour, by itself, to color. NEVER AGAIN.

(I say that and I’m already thinking of other cool florals I might draw… I have a problem, people.)

Okay, so here’s the paper doll in full color:


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Let’s talk about where each gown came from. The floral gown, the blue gown and the red gown are all from the V&A in London.

The blue gown is based on this red dress from 1957. The red evening dress was drawn from this evening gown by Hardy Amies was made right after fabric rationing was lifted in England (1949), so lacks the layers of lace and silk that were common in evening gowns on this period. I love the simplicity and shape of the dress. The last dress from the V&A is my favorite, the floral evening gown made in Paris and worn by the wife of the British Ambassador. I tried, but I don’t think I captured the beauty of the rose patterned skirt and layered bodice.

The last pink dress comes from The Met, known as “Tree” this gown was designed by Charles James. Of all of the gowns I drew, I feel like this one didn’t work. My style of flat color just can’t capture the layering of the gowns beautiful fabric. Liana did a beautiful version of Charles james Butterfly dress on her blog several years ago which I think captures his work better than I did here.

Okay, that’s everything. Happy MLK Day to those in the US who are celebrating like me.

The 27th Shadow and Light Printable Paper Doll

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Wow, it has been a long time since I’ve done one of these paper dolls and I have missed them.

I developed drawing in this style in college, because I admired the work of many wonderful comic book artists. As I got more concerned with the playability of the paper dolls rather than what I thought was artistic merit, I largely abandoned it for paper doll work and went back to my more cartoony style.

Still… I love the idea of black and white paper dolls that aren’t meant to be colored and can stand alone as pieces of work without needing color.

Today’s Shadow & Light printable paper doll has a 1930’s noir sensibility that I think the heavily shadowed medium really illustrates well and I adore her side glancing eyes.

One of the other reasons I love doing Shadow and Light paper dolls is that they come together very quickly. Well… not the inking and drawing parts (those take more time with all the shadow), but the actualy formatting is quick since they don’t need to be colored and usually I draw the taps right on the paper doll clothing rather than adding them later.

By the way, I have a new poll. I have done this poll once, several years ago. That time, the Marisol Monday won out, by a landslide. I’m curious of that would happen again. I suppose we’ll see.

Marisole Monday & Friends: Flowers and Jewels in Full Color!

So, we had the black and white version of this paper doll set last week. Sometimes, I feel like I don’t do a good enough job linking the full color versions of the paper dolls with the black and white versions of the same paper doll, but then… I also sort of figure that people are smart enough to figure it out. I don’t like treating my readers as though they’re stupid.

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Anyway… I had a lot of fun with today’s paper doll.

Her underwear is the same color as the site’s base color which is Hex Code 990033. Her skin is the warmer of my two medium brown colors that I like to use Hex Code d29569 from the Skintone Pallette. It’s got more orange in it than some of the colors I use more often, so I tend to be careful what colors I pair it with. The dresses are a range of colors whose Hex Codes, I can’t remember at present. I wanted to use Jeweltones, but not get too dark. Autumnal without getting into the orange, yellow, red, brown combination.

Anyway, I think I’ve run out of things to say about the paper doll. Enjoy her.

Marisole Monday & Friends: Flowers and Jewels

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I always have high hopes for October. I mean… it’s Halloween. Could there be a better holiday to celebrate with paper dolls? Any yet despite my idea that I’m really going to be festive, I hardly ever am.

I think I’ve done one Marisole Halloween set (which I didn’t feel like digging around the archives for). I remember fondly Liana’s wonderful Octobers with fantastic costumes and I always think I’m going to do something like that.

Clearly, once again, that didn’t happen.

But hey… here’s some pretty prom dresses/evening wear and it’ll be in color next week. I could say I planned on using halloween colors… but I don’t. I plan on using a lot of teal and maybe some purple.

Marisole Mondy & Friends: A Set of Black and White Printable Paper Dolls

First of all… More Black and White Marisole Monday & Friends printable paper dolls (but you’ll need to scroll down…)

Secondly, Check out the new layout. It is still in progress and I’m still messing with it a fair bit, but I have high hopes for eventual success with it.

What happened was that I updated my version of WordPress and updated my old theme. Well.. that messed up the formatting and I decided that the right thing to do was finally bite the bullet and redo the entire thing. So, the blog looked schizophrenic for a few days while I tried out new and different themes. Right now, the theme is Mantra and I can only say good things about it. I judge a theme on how much of the CSS I have to rewrite myself and with Mantra the answer has been… shockingly little. Just a few small tweaks to the code. All in all, a very nice and clean theme.

Anyway, I’m not sure how I feel about the new layout, so feel free to comment and tell me what you think.

As for today’s printable paper dolls… I’m posting some more previously colored Marisole’s in black and white. I think they look charming. They’re all very modern though some of them are two years old.


marisole-BW-Autumn

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Well, I did a series of seasonal paper dolls- or at least I thought seriously about it- and this one was for Autumn. You can see the Autumn Chic in color and I forgot to give her a background pattern, though I’ve fixed that in my black and white version. Paper dolls without backgrounds just look so sad and empty to me.


marisole-BW-Candy-Coated

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Being someone who loves alliteration, I called this paper doll set Candy Coated Couture, which made more sense when she was full color. I think she’s a great example of the importance of mixing neutrals into a colorful scheme to increase mix and match clothing options. Plus did I mention that I love most of her clothing? Now that she’s available in black and white and I think she’s just as cute.


marisole-BW-Enchanting-Evening

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So, now Mia is getting into the act. Here she is off to prom or maybe some sort of red carpet event. I never wear an evening gown in the real world, but paper dolls aren’t meant for the real world, are they? Enchanting Evening in full color is another paper doll where I forgot to put in a background image. It bothers me, though not enough to fix it. I should really fix the apstorphe in Streets of China first… that’s the one that really gets to me.

Anyway, let me know what you think of the new theme and check back later this week. There will be another update. I’m not sure when yet… but it is going to happen.